While it is nice and cozy to sit by a wood fire in the evening it is not much good for the health of our planet. The reality is it produces black carbon which has recently emerged as a major contributor to global climate change and possibly second only to carbon dioxide as the main cause of world warming.

Black Carbon (BC) particles strongly absorb sunlight and gives soot its black color. There are a number of  alternatives that provide the same comforts as wood burning stoves and heaters without producing the particulate pollution.

BC is produced both naturally and by human activities as a result of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, bio fuels and biomass.

Air pollution causes 1 in 9 deaths worldwide and is the largest single environmental health crisis we face. Clean air measures that can positively impact human health, crop yields, climate change and socio-economic development, as well as contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Implementing these measures could help one billion people breathe cleaner air by 2030 and reduce global warming by a third of a degree Celsius by 2050.

One UN report found that the biggest reduction in black carbon would come from replacing smoky fires in the developing world with fan assisted stoves, gas ovens or even solar. But reductions could also be made in the developed world from upgrading or replacing the old fashioned wood burning stove or heater with more efficient models.

Wood burning stoves are gaining in popularity in both the US and Europe as homes go back to ‘rustic’ fashion, the price of heating rises and households are encouraged to adopt the ‘green technology’. The report warned black carbon emissions in the developed world are expected to increase over the next 20 years, overtaking emissions from dirty diesel cars as transport becomes a lot greener.It estimated the impact could be almost halved by replacing wood burning stoves, boilers or heaters with more efficient technologies.

Pellet stoves and boilers are the most efficient models, although there are also stoves that look the same as old fashioned models but burn the wood in so there is less black carbon.Primary sources include emissions from diesel engines, cook stoves, wood burning and forest fires. Reducing CO2 emissions is essential to avert the worst impacts of future climate change, but CO2 has such a long atmospheric lifetime that it will take several decades for CO2 concentrations to begin to stabilize after emissions reductions begin. In contrast, BC remains in the atmosphere for only a few weeks, so cutting its emissions would immediately reduce the rate of warming, particularly in the rapidly changing Arctic. Moreover, reduced exposure to BC provides public health co-benefits, especially in developing countries. Technologies that can reduce global BC emissions are available today.

How Bad Is the Climate Feedback from Bush Fires?

Although the exact quantities are difficult to calculate, scientists estimate that wildfires emitted about 8 billion tons of CO2 per year for the past 20 years. In 2017, total global CO2 emissions reached 32 billion tons, according to the International Energy Agency. When they calculate total global CO2 output, scientists don’t include all wildfire emissions as net emissions, though, because some of the CO2 is offset by renewed forest growth in the burned areas. As a result, they estimate that wildfires make up 5 to 10 percent of annual global CO2 emissions each year.


  1. Eric says:

    If bush fires are increasing it might be because these climate warming zealots are lighting them. They may feel their actions are somehow justified in order that there is more focus on climate change. There was one arsonist apprehended in NSW dressed in a firefighters uniform which is a worry.

  2. Janice says:

    If you live near areas where there is hazardous under growth you need to petition for these areas to be identified and properly managed. The only good thing that will come out of it if there is a major fire, will be at least the fuel-load will be burnt down making it easier to manage in the next decade or so. That is about the best we can hope for.

  3. Lance says:

    Australia’s bush fires this year have emitted 250 million tonnes of CO2, almost half of country’s annual emissions. Experts say the CO2 from this season’s bush fires is significant, because even under normal conditions it could take decades for forest regrowth to reabsorb the emissions. What’s the use applying all these draconian measures to limit GHGs when we are already emission stricken and behind the eight ball.

  4. Anonyme says:

    There are billions of people in third world countries who are still living a pre-industrial type existence that the western world left behind more 100 years ago. Under the Paris agreement they are not allowed use fossil fuels, especially coal fired power stations for cheap and reliable power, to raise their standard of living. Without oil and natural gas they may never have the quality of life that we enjoy.

  5. Gloomy says:

    The intention of this ridiculous climate change scam was to save the planet by bringing about the collapse of the major industrialized nations. All that has happened is the US have become even stronger because they woke to it and so too has China who are rapidly becoming a super power.
    Thanks UN!

  6. Egan says:

    Captain Cook, on his visit to eastern Australia in 1770 recorded in his log that there were ‘100s of fires burning up and down the coast’, from Point Hicks in eastern Victoria right up to central Qld. No burning of fossil fuels or the industrial revolution in 1770. Ask the ‘scientist’ Professor Flannery (whose qualifications in science are in paleontology, NOT climate science or meteorology) about Cook’s observations. Please….some sanity.

  7. Coolist says:

    When you tell people once too often that the missing extra heat is hiding in the ocean, they will switch over to watch Game of Thrones, where the dialogue is less ridiculous and all the threats come true. The proponents of man-made climate catastrophe asked us for so many leaps of faith that they were bound to run out of credibility in the end. ..Clive James

  8. John says:

    Ten Milli0n acres were burnt out in Queensland in October 1951.

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